Speech by Our Hong Kong Foundation Chairman Mr C H Tung
Elevating Livelihood through “Patriots Governing Hong Kong” and Electoral Reform
This year marks the beginning of the 14th Five-Year Plan. The Two Sessions that closed in Beijing yesterday had deliberated upon a series of key measures that set the direction of our country’s strategic development. They have profound implications for the rise of the Chinese people and for the post-pandemic revival of the global economy. As part of China, we should take a clear view of the big picture, and have a strong sense of national identity.
The miraculous growth of our country since the reform and opening up is a fact for all to see. Our country is going from strength to strength. The livelihood of 1.4 billion of Chinese people is getting better day by day.
Regrettably, some anti-China elements have sought to bring chaos to Hong Kong through the loopholes in our electoral system. The governance of Hong Kong is disrupted, our society torn apart, our people suffered, and opportunities missed. Some people even went abroad to seek foreign sanctions on us. Such behaviour hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and harmed Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. It is clear to Hong Kong people that the electoral system has to change.
Hong Kong is a democratic society. We enjoy freedom, cherish diversity, and embrace inclusiveness. Anyone is free to openly criticise the Government, and do so in a manner that is respectful to our country and our people; that supports China’s national sovereignty; and that benefits Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. If the Government is not doing a good job, of course people can criticise it, as they did in the past, and will do in the future. But over the last 24 years since the Handover, some people with ulterior motives have engaged in non-stop barrage against the Government for no other reasons than to disrupt the governance of Hong Kong. Some even want mutual destruction. This is unacceptable. Ultimately Hong Kong people would have to pick up the pieces, and pick up the bill.
The decision by the National People’s Congress to resolutely implement “Patriots Governing Hong Kong” and to improve the electoral system is not directed at any specific parties. It does not shut the door to any political parties. It does not seek uniformity of public opinion. The objective is clear: to ensure that only patriots are running Hong Kong, and that anti-China disrupters will have no place in governing Hong Kong.
It is time for Hong Kong to go forward in bold strides. Minor patch-up will not work. We need a fundamental overhaul. To put patriots in charge of the governance is not something new. It is a universally accepted political ethics. “Love thy country” is second nature to all people. It goes to the core of “One Country, Two Systems”.
From Chaos to Order, and Order to Prosperity
The National People’s Congress in June last year enacted the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which quelled Hong Kong social chaos and restored social order. But restoring order alone is not enough. We need to turn things around to seek prosperity. We need to build a Hong Kong where our economy booms, our culture prospers, businesses grow, and families joyous. We need a Hong Kong that takes good care of the sick and the needy, that gives nano-flats dwellers a dignified home, that lets the middle-class flourish, and gives our youngsters hope.
Different countries have different electoral systems. The electoral systems of the US, the UK, India, and Singapore, for example, are all different. Which one is better, and which the best? Who can ever answer this question?
What I want to point out is that the ultimate test of any electoral system is whether it will improve the lot of the people. Under Hong Kong’s current electoral system, our rich resources are not put to the best use, our talents are all over the place but too disorganised to be a positive force of change.
The new electoral system provides the opportunities to turn the situation around. It allows us to mobilise all the richness of our resources, our talents, and our determination to turn Hong Kong people’s aspirations and our youngster’s dreams into reality.
Refocusing on Livelihood
Under the new electoral system, our multiculturalism will remain unchanged. Our elections will remain fair, just, and transparent. The increased number of seats in our legislature means greater scope for political participation. The representativeness of inclusiveness of our elected offices will be enhanced. It is the dawn of a new era where everybody gets down to the business of making Hong Kong a better home.
Under the new electoral system, radical protests and strident political shows will cease to attract votes. Solid performance will.
The overwhelming majority of Hong Kong people love the country and love Hong Kong. As long as they are not engaged in any anti-China and anti-Hong Kong activities, they will have ample opportunities to serve Hong Kong and contribute to our country.
The new electoral system will provide a stable business environment and prevent our home from being dragged into international power politics. It will nip opportunities for external political forces from disrupting our marketplace through elections.
We need to integrate our development into our country’s rapid growth through complementing mutual strengths and through coordinated development. Riding on the vast opportunities of the 14th Five-Year Plan, the Dual Circulation, the Great Bay Area, and the Belt and Road Initiative, Hong Kong is all set to scale new heights.
Youngster: Be Proud of Our Motherland
Over the past years we have seen many youngsters actively expressing their aspirations through peaceful and rational means. But some did so through over-radical activities. They simply don’t know much about politics and have been misguided. Our approach to them should be to nurture and enlighten. This is a deeply painful lesson that calls for a lot of soul searching. We need do our utmost to make amend.
I appeal to our young people to open up your mind, and take a fresh look at what our country and the people have achieved. Patriotism is not something hard for you to fathom. I was born in an era when enemy bomber flew over our heads. Life was unspeakable suffering. Who could have imagined that today our country has sent a spaceship to Mars, eliminated extreme poverty, and given out anti-pandemic supplies and rolled out vaccines to help other countries struggling with the pandemic.
It was then beyond imagination. It now exceeds all imagination. Our country has created miracles after miracles. Seize the opportunities. Be proud of being a Chinese. Stand tall, be courageous, and fulfil the honour of duty to the country and to Hong Kong.
Into a New Golden Era
This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the New China. Let me crystalise our country’s glorious achievement into four Chinese words: “Arise, March On”. Arise, as we do from a country in tatters, arise as we do through our hard work and resolve; and March On as we do amidst suppression by foreign powers, through our science and technology breakthroughs, as through our pandemic fight and economic revival. These four words, which are the first two words and the last two words of our National Anthem, capture the spirit of the Chinese people, their resilience, their courage. I call on all Hong Kong people to march on in the same spirit. Together let’s turn chaos to order, and order into prosperity. A new golden era beckons.